Maxtor's DiamondMax Plus 9 Serial ATA Drive

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Maxtor's DiamondMax Plus 9 Serial ATA Drive
Serial ATA Drives Mature

By Dave Altavilla
March 20, 2003

 

This is the test that separates the men from the boys, so to speak.  The High End Disk Winmark incorporates much more strenuous disk intensive tasks, like file transfers and data crunching in applications such as Adobe Premier, Photoshop, SoundForge and AVS Express.

High End Disk Winmark
A Workstation's Workout

We could just let this chart speak for itself really.  There is no explanation needed.  However, we can't resist commenting on what yet again looks like a proverbial "smoke-show".  For the single drive configurations, the DiamondMax Plus 9 SATA drive is 26% faster than the WD Special Edition drive and an unbelievable 82% faster than the Barracuda V SATA drive, nearly doubling it's performance.  In addition, if you are a Movie, Audio or Image Editing type, a RAID 0 array with a pair of DiamondMax Plus 9 SATA drives, seems pretty much like bandwidth nirvana.  You do the math.  Plain and simple, these new Maxtor drive are racing-stripe fast.

New Silicon Image Drivers and Disk Winbench Results
What a difference a driver makes

The rest of the individual test scores for each test in the Winbench suite, are detailed in the table below.  We've also taken the liberty of including a new set of numbers for the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9, in a single and RAID 0 configuration, with some new SATA Controller WinXP drivers, that were sent to us recently from Silicon Image.  These new scores are indicated with a bracketed "2" in the title column.  However, as you'll note, we used the previous revision drivers for the comparison charts in this review, since we didn't retest all the drives with the new drivers and wanted to keep a fair comparison.

Winbench Disk Winmark Details
Click image for full view


Note:  "(2)" Test Run indicates new driver Set

The folks at Silicon Image have been doing their homework for sure.  As you'll note in this table of scores, the overall High End Disk Winmark performance of a RAID 0 SATA array, has gone up another 16% or so... sweetness.


A Note On Acoustics Of The DiamondMax Plus 9  SATA Drive:

Speaking of sweet, we're going to keep this segment both short and sweet.  We typically test a hard drive acoustic profile in a fairly primitive but effective none-the-less environment.  We literally place the drive down on a bare wood portion of our test bench and then let the drive's noise characteristics radiate through the wood.  This method actually enhances drive noise to a certain extent and gives a worst case scenario to gauge things with.  We didn't compare the drive to every disk in our lab but the DiamondMax Plus 9 SATA drive, has quieter spindle and read head acoustics, than either the Western Digital SE or Barracuda V drives we tested.

 

Final Analysis

It should be fairly obvious to you at this point, where this article and performance analysis of the new DiamondMax Plus 9 SATA drive, is culminating.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this drive is easily one of the best performing Desktop or Workstation Hard Drives on the market right now.  Historically, Western Digital Special Edition drives, with their 8MB buffer, have always been our drive of choice here, amongst the HH Tech Editor team.  However, with the advent of Serial ATA and it's inevitable succession of PATA technology, it's safe to say we have a new favorite.  The Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 SATA delivers on every performance metric, speed, speed, acoustics and... speed.

There are only a couple of small caveats with this new SATA drive from Maxtor.  Although clearly this is a high end product, the warranty from Maxtor for this type of drive is lack-luster.  Maxtor only warranties the drive for 1 year, while many other high end desktop products, like the WD SE drive, sport 3 year warranties.  We would like to urge Maxtor to reconsider upping the ante here.  Clearly this is a well built product, there is no reason not to stand behind it for a longer duration.  The other small issue is that you simply can't find this drive as of yet, in the retail channel.  Maxtor should be hitting volume with these drives in a month or so, we would expect.  As such, we don't have an MSRP for you on them either, as of yet.  However, one would expect that they should fall closely in line with the ATA133 version of the DiamondMax Plus 9 , somewhere around the $95 - 125 mark for an 80G unit, like the one we tested.

For now, we were so impressed the DiamondMax Plus 9 SATA drive, that we're giving it a 9 on the Heat Meter (3 years on the warranty would have scored it near a perfect 10) and our Editor's Choice Award for excellence.

 

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Tags:  drive, Maxtor, diamond, XT, Ive, Tor, AM

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